A fleet manager is responsible for the effective vehicle fleet management and logistics operations management in the organization.
Most of the tasks, work, and employees revolve around the fleet manager since this role forms the nodal point of contact in logistics management.
We will discuss this in detail from role, responsibility, key skills required and the challenges faced by the fleet manager in this blog.
What is a fleet manager?
A fleet manager is a person who is responsible for the company’s group of vehicles. It includes various aspects such as renting/leasing or purchasing the vehicle and also maintaining the vehicles.
The fleet manager oversees the company’s fleet business effectively with proper maintenance schedules, managing safety standards as prescribed by rules and regulations.
A fleet manager is responsible for the effective management of financial aspects and focuses on productivity improvement. Apart from these, he is also responsible for the company policy generation, driver behaviour management and driver & vehicle safety.
Fleet Manager Duties and Responsibilities
1. Vehicle Purchasing or Leasing
According to the organization, culture and business model fleet managers play an important role in vehicle purchasing or vehicle leasing.
When it comes to vehicle purchasing the fleet manager needs to approach the manufacturers, engineering technicians for assembling and bodybuilding. In all these cases, the fleet manager should involve in cost negotiations. Finally, when to purchase the new fleet vehicle and lease or resell the vehicle decision depends on the fleet manager.
When leasing the vehicle, the fleet manager should have a detailed look at the vehicle health, engine life, kilometers driven. Apart from these, the terms and conditions with the vehicle owner for leasing the vehicle for the organisation. It all depends on the fleet manager and every detail is rested on the fleet manager.
2. Fuel Expenses and Consumption Management
Fuel is one of the major expenses in fleet management, it ranges from 25-30% of total fleet management expenditure. So it is of utmost crucial for the fleet manager to efficiently manage fuel expenses.
For proper fuel management, the fleet managers can utilize the fleet card, fuel card or have to tie up with the fuel gas station providers to track the fuel consumption and expenses that occurred for the fleet fuel.
Apart from these, the fleet managers can utilize telematics technology to track fuel consumption, filling, and theft using the advanced fuel monitoring system using GPS tracker and Fuel Level Sensors.
3. Fleet Maintenance Schedules
Vehicle health management is vital in the fleet management program for the fleet manager. The fleet manager needs to have proper scheduled vehicle maintenance after categorizing the vehicle types, manage the vehicle documentation.
Apart from that, fleet manager should manage the spare parts inventories, repair costs and monitor the vehicle for optimal resale value.
4. Safety Standards
Fleet managers should oversee the organizational fleet safety standards and be responsible for creating the safety policies for vehicle management and driver safety protocols in the organization.
To achieve that, the fleet manager needs to coordinate with the management team and health officials associated with the organization to create safety protocols.
Also, the fleet manager should organize the drivers for the safety training programs if needed. In case of accident scenarios, the fleet manager should understand where the safety protocol was deviated and ensure doesn’t repeat again.
Overall, the fleet manager should ensure minimal accidents with reduced downtime and less damage to the organizational assets and employees.
Fleet managers are passionate about safety. When an incident occurs, potential negligence and brand damage come with staggering costs to organizations.
5. Fleet Tracking
To monitor the vehicles the logistics companies take the aid of software applications such as GPS Tracking, Fuel monitoring solutions to track the vehicle locations, fuel consumption, mileage data.
Also, get detailed insights such as vehicle idling, route optimisation, vehicle utlisation, trip planning and driver management.
Get the detailed reports from the software on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to monitor and report the tracking management.
6. Manage Legal Compliance
Legal compliance management is another one of the responsibilities for fleet managers in the logistics industry.
The fleet manager should maintain the updated legal compliance for the vehicle, carrier goods and drivers. In case, if the logistics company handles hazardous material and food, the regulatory compliance for such goods needs to get prior approval from the officials.
Proper driver vehicle inspection and vehicle routine health checkups need to be done and the respective reports should be handed over to the respective transportation officials.
7. Vehicle Reselling
Fleet manager is responsible for the vehicle maintenance so that the vehicle resale value is increased.
The vehicle should be maintained clean, well-maintained engine and other vehicle spares which ensures the vehicle overall value.
Key Skills required for Fleet Manager
1. Data analysis using technology
Technology has penetrated all fields and domains, to be a successful fleet manager, the managers should be equipped with fleet technologies such as telematics, Dashcam and fleet management applications.
Using this application the fleet manager can
- Track Vehicle Performance
- Track Vehicle Location
- Driver Behaviour Management
- Vehicle Maintenance Schedules
- Trip Management
- Vehicle Document Management
- Spare Inventory Management
With the aid of technology, the fleet manager can reduce vehicle downtime and improve both efficiency and productivity of the fleet.
2. Business Management
As a fleet manager, the role doesn’t stop in vehicle management alone as the vehicle is interconnected with the business, the fleet manager should have good business skills.
The fleet manager has to interact with various stakeholders involved in the logistics operations such as customers, vendors, maintenance technicians, fleet operation management team, tech team, driver relationship.
All these skills along with business management enhance the role of the fleet manager in the transportation industry.
3. Financial Management
Fleet managers should hold the proper response in the fleet budgets after understanding the business operations, customer requirements and vehicle need to match the industry benchmark along with economic conditions.
Major Challenges faced by Fleet Managers
Route Planning and Fuel Management
Route Optimsation is part of the fleet manager’s work role, the fleet operations manager should optimise the driving route effectively, so that it saves time, increases vehicle fuel efficiency and reduces vehicle wear and tear.
To achieve this the fleet manager should use the telematics technology efficiently to achieve route optimisation. But it is one of the challenging tasks for the fleet manager in day to day fleet operations as it has multiple benefits with various challenges to the fleet manager.
Driver Workload Balancing
The next major challenge for the fleet manager is the relationship with driver and balancing the workload for the vehicle drivers.
As drivers are the key players in the logistics operation, the work schedule for the drivers should be properly planned by fleet managers so that drivers are happy with their workload allocation.
Vehicle Downtime Reduction
The prime role and real challenge for the fleet manager are to ensure that vehicles perform better without much downtime.
If there is any vehicle breakdown that occurs on the trip it creates a lot of trouble for the fleet managers, customers and business progress.
So the fleet managers should ensure vehicles are properly maintained with preventive maintenance schedules.
Driver and Vehicle Performance Analysis
Data analysis is becoming part on all the fields, so the fleet managers should equip themselves to perform better in the market.
The fleet manager should analyze the vehicle and driver data properly using the telematics and fleet management software used in the organization. Proper reports should be prepared for vehicle health status and driver performance reports.
It will be quite helpful for organisations and business prospects when to replace vehicles, purchase vehicles, maintenance expenses and driver performers and non-performance from the reports.